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Weekly 3: Increase your impact

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Summary: Say less to mean more. Apply leverage to your "specific knowledge." Manage your energy -- no
 

Idea Journal Weekly 3

August 5 · Issue #46 · View online
We combine 3 ideas to help you think differently and be more creative.

Summary: Say less to mean more. Apply leverage to your “specific knowledge.” Manage your energy – not just your time. (~7 min read)

#1. Once the words are out, you can't take them back.
Author Robert Greene writes in his book The 48 Laws of Power that when you’re trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common, familiar, and insecure you appear.
As Greene points out, “Power is in many ways a game of appearances, and when you say less than necessary, you inevitably appear greater and more powerful than you are.”
There are several reasons for this:
  • The less you say, the less likely you are to say something foolish.
  • The less you say, the more mysterious and interesting you become to others.
  • The less you say, the more other people talk; the more other people talk, the more you learn about them and their desires and motivations.
  • The less you say, the less other people know about you, making it easier to surprise them.
In an interview on the Learning Leader podcast, Greene recommends 2 everyday applications of this principle:
  1. The next time you’re in a meeting or conversation, think to yourself: I’m not going to talk as much this time. With practice, over time you’ll develop a greater ability to listen and to “step back from the moment.”
  2. When you receive an email or message that upsets you, don’t respond immediately – if possible, wait 24 hours.
#2. Build wealth using your specific knowledge and leverage.
In a Twitter thread, AngelList CEO Naval Ravikant gives nearly 40 guidelines for “How to Get Rich (without getting lucky).”
Here are some of those guidelines, organized into 6 themes:
1. “Seek wealth, not money or status”:
  • “Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy.”
  • You won’t get rich by renting out your time; you need to own equity (i.e., a stake in a business) to build wealth and gain your financial freedom.
2. Prioritize the long-term
  • “All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.”
  • Pick an industry where you can play iterated, long-term games with long-term people.
  • Choose business partners who have energy, high intelligence, and above all, integrity.
3. Learn the right things:
  • Learn to sell and learn to build: “If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.”
  • Study microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, math, and computers.
  • Build specific knowledge by pursuing your genuine curiosity and passion. Specific knowledge is often highly technical or creative; it will feel like play to you and like work to others; it cannot be trained for, automated, or outsourced.
4. Be Accountable:
  • “Embrace accountability, and take business risks under your own name.”
5. Use leverage:
  • Creating a fortune requires leverage, and in business there are 3 types: capital, people, and products with no marginal cost of replication (i.e., code and media).
  • Capital and labor are both permissioned leverage: everyone wants money, but someone has to give it to you; everyone wants to be a leader, but someone has to follow you.
  • Code and media are permissionless leverage: you can create software and media that work for you while you sleep. If you can’t code, then write blogs and books, or record podcasts and videos.
6. Work smart:
  • “Work as hard as you can. Even though who you work with and what you work on are more important than how hard you work.”
  • Create and enforce an “aspirational personal hourly rate”: if fixing a problem will save less than your hourly rate, then ignore it. If outsourcing a task will cost less than your hourly rate, then outsource it.
  • Become the best in the world at what you do – continue refining your focus and work until this is true.
#3. Managing your energy is at least as important as managing your time.
Personal development experts Catherine McCarthy and Tony Schwartz write in the Harvard Business Review that most of us react to rising demands at work by putting in longer hours. And this takes a toll on us emotionally, mentally, and physically.
The main problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource.
But as McCarthy and Schwartz point out, your personal energy is renewable: you can expand and regularly renew your energy by establishing specific behaviors that you practice and schedule, with the goal of making them unconscious and automatic.
They recommend focusing on the below 4 areas of your life to better manage your energy:
1. Physical Energy:
  • Learn to notice signs of your energy declining, including restlessness, hunger, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Take brief but regular breaks away from your desk every 2 hours throughout the day.
  • Eat small meals and snacks every three hours.
2. Emotional Energy:
  • Enhance positive emotions by regularly expressing appreciation in others through specific and detailed cards, conversations, emails, and notes.
  • Look at upsetting situations through new lenses. Use the “reverse lens” and ask: How might the other person in this conflict be right? With the “long lens” ask: How will I likely view this situation in 6 months?
3. Mental Energy:
  • Reduce interruptions (e.g., phone, email, other people) when you’re performing tasks that require a lot of concentration.
  • When possible, schedule designated times to respond to emails and calls.
  • Every night, identify the most important challenge for the next day, and make it your priority when you get to work.
4. Spiritual Energy:
  • Identify your “sweet spot” activities: those that make you feel effective, absorbed, and fulfilled; find ways to do more of them.
  • Live your core values. For example, if being considerate to others is important to you, but you’re frequently late to meetings, make an effort to show up 5 minutes early.
Quote of the Week
“If you can’t win, change the rules. If you can’t change the rules, ignore them.”
- Laws 7 and 8 of Peter’s Laws by entrepreneur Peter Diamandis
Idea Journal
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